Kathy Post
January 21, 2021
Kathy is the TEU Assessment & Accreditation Specialist at East Stroudsburg College of Education

When setting up a Learnics assignment, teachers can indicate the amount of time they expect students to take on the assignment by entering a time into the recommended time spent on assignment (HH:MM) field.

This feature is one way that teachers can provide a time expectation for students, allowing for students to regulate their own learning while providing feedback to the teacher. Teachers can use this information to understand if their expectations are on target or may need to be adjusted. Open-ended, inquiry-based lessons can promote student engagement, but with increased screen time concerns and lack of information literacy, students may need guidance, such as a time expectation, so they stay on track. 

After the lesson, as teachers review the classwide visual analytics, this time expectation is shown on the Students by Time bar graph as a red line, along with the average class time as a dark blue line with green bars for each individual student's time. From this visualization, teachers can quickly see which students spent the most amount of time on the assignment as well as the least amount of time.

While it may be beneficial for students to spend more than suggested because it indicates high engagement or motivation, it may also show that the student may need help developing effective online research skills. For students who spend too little time on the assignment, it may indicate that the student was not involved in the lesson, or did not understand the directions, or gave up because they could not find what they were looking for. 

Conversely, if many students spend far less than the defined time expectation, it may reveal that the teacher did not provide enough guidance or instructions for the students or that teachers overestimated the amount of time needed for that particular assignment. A wide range of times may be expected because all students learn differently while times that are close to the recommended time may show the teacher their directions were clear and students were successful in their quest.

Whether teaching face-to-face, hybrid, or 100% virtual, the time students spend doing online research for inquiry-based activities is largely hidden to teachers and teachers may over- or under- estimate the amount of time needed for this component of a lesson. Additionally, students who are working remotely may not know what is expected of them, so this information provides a tool for students to monitor their own progress. This data provides teachers with important information for individual student conferences and provides evidence of the student effort during remote learning. Time doesn’t tell us everything about student online learning, but teachers can use this information in multiple ways to gain insight into both classwide and individual student effort on the assignment. 

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